Nation Current Affairs 11 Mar 2020 Sexual harassment at ...

Sexual harassment at workplace is affront to rights of woman: SC

Published Mar 11, 2020, 4:46 pm IST
Updated Mar 11, 2020, 4:46 pm IST
Representational image (PTI)
 Representational image (PTI)

New Delhi: Sexual harassment at the workplace is an “affront” to the fundamental rights of a woman to equality, her right to live with dignity and to practice any profession or carry out any occupation, the Supreme Court has said.

The apex court observed this while upholding the verdict of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had quashed an order of transfer of a woman bank employee who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against her senior officer.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi said the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at the workplace as well as for prevention and redressal of such complaints.

The bench said the material placed before it indicated that the woman officer, during her posting at Indore branch of the bank, had written repeated communications to authorities drawing their attention to serious irregularities in maintenance of accounts of liquor contractors and had levelled specific allegations of corruption.

The top court noted in its judgement that the woman officer had not participated in the proceedings before the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the bank, which dealt with her allegations of sexual harassment, and there was a fundamental defect in the constitution of the ICC.

The counsel appearing for the bank had argued before the apex court that the ICC, upon enquiring into the complaint of sexual harassment, had found that there was no substance in those allegations.

The woman officer had alleged that one of her senior officers used to call her at late hours at home to discuss business which was not of urgent nature.

“In view of the above analysis, we are of the view that the high court cannot be faulted in coming to the conclusion that the transfer of the respondent (woman officer), who was holding the office of chief manager in the scale-IV in Indore branch to the branch at Sarsawa in the district of Jabalpur was required to be interfered with,”  the bench said.

The bench directed that the woman officer be re-posted at the Indore branch for a period of one year.

The top court, while affirming the March 2019 verdict of the high court, disposed off the appeal filed by the bank.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi


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